Footprints: Monday Morning Recap

Last week was a fall back week that turned into an even easier than planned week in part due to weather and also a bit of travel. I flew back from New Hampshire on Monday and then was off to Syracuse on Friday morning. Both very cold visits, but very fun also!

I put in 4 runs for a little over 20 miles. Here’s the day-by-day breakdown.

Monday: Travel day – did not make it to the gym after getting back.

Tuesday: Unplanned rest day. I ran out of energy to battle the cold by the end of today and decided to just head home after work.

Wednesday: I was up super early to teach a 6 a.m. boot camp in Bluemont Park. It was about 19 degrees, but 5 brave souls made it out for the morning workout so I had some fun with it and did my best to keep them moving and warm the whole time. I put in a 5-mile run at the gym after work plus a brief upper body workout and my P90X core routine before heading home and crawling into bed before eating dinner I was so tired. I do not know how I used to teach 6AM and 6PM boot camps every day on top of my regular 9-5 job!

Thursday: I put in a great 5 mile run along the Mt. Vernon trail after work. It had snowed that morning, but warmed up to the low-30s that evening and the trail had been cleared making for a great run followed by a fun happy hour with the Oiselle crew!

Friday: I had great intentions of getting up at 5 a.m. again and hitting the gym before my early flight to Syracuse, but it just didn’t happen!

Saturday: Facing a tempo run in single digits, my Mom saved the day and got me into the local Y with her where I got in a great 45-minute tempo run!

The crazy big snowbanks in the Y parking lot in Fayetteville near my parent's house.

The crazy big snowbanks in the Y parking lot in Fayetteville near my parent’s house.

Sunday: I decided to swap my long run out and put it off to early next week when I’m back in D.C., so Mom and I made another trip to the Y and I put in a tough, progressively faster five miler.


Wedding Recap: The Tailgate Party

Our wedding tailgate was the brainchild of my mother-in-law and one of the most fun parts of our wedding weekend! Many of our guests were going to be coming from out of town and a majority of them wouldn’t know each other yet, so instead of a traditional rehearsal dinner we invited all of our guests from near and far to join us on Friday night for some tailgating fun!


Ian and I are pretty laid back and not super formal, so this was right up our alley. It also allowed us to incorporate our love for Syracuse sports. Given that Syracuse in October could bring anything from 70-degree weather to snow storms, we decided to hold it inside a ballroom at The Craftsman Inn where most of our guests were staying.


The decorations were a surprise to us until we walked in after the rehearsal, and boy did it look phenomenal. The room was decorated with Syracuse orange and blue, old Syracuse team posters and memorabilia and pictures showcasing my love of running and Ian’s love of coaching. Completing the room were some fun games – little mini basketball games on each table along with custom-made Syracuse corn hole boards courtesy of Ian’s brother.


The menu was full of my favorites – burgers, hot dogs, mac and cheese (a house special and my absolute favorite), sausage sandwiches, a house salad and a whole lot of booze! Everything was delicious!


We showed up with the wedding party and family half an hour before things officially kicked off so we could share some thank you gifts with them for all the awesome things they did to make the weekend so special for us. About 90 percent of our guests showed up both nights! It took a lot of pressure off making time to circulate and say hello to everyone at the reception since we had so much time to chat with friends and family on Friday night too.


I really loved how it brought everyone together as well. One of my favorite parts of the night was looking around at the tables and seeing a group playing some sort of drinking game (that I may have gotten involved with later!) that included family of both mine and Ian’s, friends of mine from DC, friends I went to high school with along with friends Ian met in college and in Minnesota. Such a great group of people and so much fun!!



As the party came to an end and many prepared to head over to the local bar, my brother and sister-in-law came over to collect me and make sure I got home at a decent time! While I was way too excited to sleep before the big day, I’m sure it was for the best that I didn’t join the others at the bar that night! More on the big day coming soon!


Bridal Shower Weekend

My bridal shower weekend was a whole lot of fun packed into a few days this June. Ian and I drove up to Syracuse Thursday night so we could get some wedding stuff done on Friday. When you plan a wedding long distance you have to pack a lot in when you can and also rely on those that are there to help a lot – thanks Mom & Dad.

My Mom and I figured why not kick the weekend off with a practice run for manis and pedis because well, why not?! I also did a trial run for my hair and picked my dress up from the tailor for my final fitting.

Since my brother was also getting married over the summer, my Mom threw a joint shower for my sister-in-law and me, which was perfect. Neither of us are great at being the center of attention so it took a bit of pressure off to be able to share the day! I’m sure our guests who would have been invited to both also appreciated the combined event!

The shower was at the Palace Theatre in Syracuse. A very cool venue that unfortunately is very poorly managed. They realized two days before that they had double-booked the room our shower was in. Seeing as the other event was a wedding reception they asked us to move to a smaller room. My Mom took things in stride though, and while a bit cozier, the front room worked out just great.


To make up for the mistake they did offer us an open bar though, which we did our best to take advantage of and also invited the guys to make an appearance at the end to help out with that. 🙂 Their service day of was also fantastic as well, not to mention the food was great too, easing our frustrations with them. They also put our names on the marquee, which was very cool!

The decorations made the room. My Mom printed off pictures of Dan & Adrienne and Ian & me and spread them around the room. My Mother-in-law came up with an idea for potted gerbera daisies as centerpieces, which we surrounded by homemade jams that she made, which doubled as yummy favors for our guests! (I may have taken several home too!) She also added a few other nice touches to the room including an umbrella raining hearts as a play on the invitation I had designed.




Bridal shower games are not my cup of tea so we passed on those giving us plenty of time to mingle before lunch and presents. I couldn’t believe how generous everyone was. Adrienne made the comment of the day after we finally finished opening up presents and she no longer had to sit in front of everyone. She said after seeing me on several Christmas mornings she was really disappointed in how politely and slowly I opened all the gifts since she was sure we would be done in a few minutes!  I’m a bit of a terror/little kid on Christmas morning and if you don’t go quick enough I will start to help you open your gifts too!!


For dessert, we had half moon cookies from Wegmans. Half were frosted in blue and pink and the other half in blue and orange to match our wedding colors. My sister-in-law Britt also made us S shaped cookies too, which were a hit with everyone! We finished up a great afternoon with a few more drinks and laughs before the guys made their appearance.




We wrapped up the weekend the best way we know how – dinner with family and friends at Mulligans. My family has been going to this bar/restaurant for more years than I can remember and my parents make at least one stop there a week still, so it’s pretty much like eating at home! Times like these are also our only chance to get a peak at the menus since they’ve long since stopped giving them to us!

It was such a fun weekend. Can’t beat making great memories with family and friends who feel like family!

Race Recap: Charity for Children 8k

I’m a week late with my recap, but Sunday the 19th I ran the Charity for Children 8k at Green Lakes when I was back home for the weekend. I knew going into this that I wasn’t in the kind of shape I needed to be yet to actually race this, but I was looking forward to a challenging 5-mile run and that’s exactly what I got!

I’ve become a big fan of smaller races as of late and this fit the bill with just about 500 runners for both the 8k and 5k. Another draw for me for this race was the 10 a.m. start time! I always appreciate a race that doesn’t require me to wake up at the crack of dawn or when it’s still dark out to get to the start line on time. I was also excited to run at Green Lakes. I haven’t run there since I worked there in college years ago, and I was looking forward to taking things off the road since that’s normally the only surface I run on.

The 8k and the 5k started at the same time on a narrow beach path so  I worked my way near the front of the start line to avoid being boxed in. We looped around the beach and into the woods changing from a concrete path to gravel and then dirt as we ran around Green Lake. I kept myself from going out too fast like the previous week’s 5k and hit the first mile marker in 7:15. As I worked my way past Green Lake and around Round Lake the path changed again to mulch.

The different surfaces definitely slowed me down a bit and so did a short, but steep hill on the way to mile three as we came back out onto the beach path past the third mile marker where my Mom was waiting to cheer me on and snap a picture before she headed to the finish line! Miles 2 and 3 came in a bit slower at 7:49 and 8:18.

Passing the 3 mile mark at the Green Lakes 8k!

Passing the 3 mile mark at the Green Lakes 8k!

After coming back onto the beach path we quickly turned and ran up a path, out of the beach parking lot and on paved roads, up through the campgrounds past the frisbee golf course and to the cabin area. The emphasis on that sentence should be on the word up! Mile 4 was pretty much all up hill… a long steep hill! My pace slowed all the way down to 9:29. I don’t normally drink water in races this short, but I was pretty relieved to see a water stop at the top of the hill at the mile 4 marker.

I grabbed a cup as I turned around and started the final mile. We didn’t go straight back the way we came, but I did get to enjoy a downhill to the main road through the park and decided to pick up the pace putting in a 7:04 final mile. I turned back into the beach parking lot and onto the beach path I started on around to the finish line. I crossed the line in 40 minutes flat according to the official results. My watch had me at 39:57 and even though 3 seconds shouldn’t make a difference especially when it’s not even a PR, it still made me a little upset when I saw I hadn’t officially beaten 40.

At the finish after the Charity for Children 8k at Green Lakes

At the finish after the Charity for Children 8k at Green Lakes

Regardless, it was a great race. The packet pick up that morning was incredibly quick, the water stops were staffed with great volunteers and the course was really well marked. I had a great run and would love to go back and do it again next year!

At the finish line with Mom!

At the finish line with Mom!

I do wish I had stuck around longer after the race though – turns out I would have gotten an award! I finished 45th out of 235, was the 8th overall female and 3rd in my age group!

Syracuse Weekend Fun

No matter how old you get it always feels good to go home. When you’re from Syracuse it feels even better when it’s not winter! Ian had to drive up to his camp north of Syracuse back-to-back weekends so last weekend I rode along and had him drop me in Syracuse to spend the weekend with my parents.

We left Thursday night after I got out of work and made pretty decent time after a rough start to the drive battling traffic and three accidents along the 8-mile stretch of the GW Parkway to get on our way. My parents have remodeled the “guest room” which my Mom calls the kid’s room. It was my brother’s room for most of the time growing up and then I took it over when he left for college and my room was turned into an office. Now it has the most comfortable bed I’ve ever slept in. Seriously, I would steal it if I could figure out a way.

I always try to pack everything I can in on weekends home and this one was no different. Friday I met my Mom for lunch and pedicures before heading home to meet up with Dad for our usual Friday night dinner at Mulligans. I’ve been going to Mulligans for as long as I can remember…so long that I actually could never have tried to drink underage in this bar because they knew my birthday and wouldn’t want to upset my parents! It wouldn’t be a Friday night at home without going to Mulligans. After dinner my Dad and I always stay up late watching TV or a movie. We rented Silver Linings Playbook on demand and I loved it. He fell asleep, but I assured him it was a good movie, haha.

Drinks at the bar at new Toby Keith's restaurant in Syracuse

Drinks at the bar at new Toby Keith’s restaurant in Syracuse

Saturday my Mom and I were up early to go to the Y and try out an Aqua Blast class hoping it wouldn’t just be us and a bunch of old ladies. Well, not only was it us and a bunch of old ladies, but the instructor never showed either. We ended up grabbing the water belts and doing some aqua jogging instead. I took a trip down memory lane later on a long run to my old high school and back. I ran around all the athletic fields and couldn’t help but be jealous of the new fence at the softball field – that would’ve made chasing down fly balls so much easier!

I spent some time at my grandparents too. I hadn’t seen them since my Florida trip in January so it was great to visit. I was always very lucky when I lived at home to have them just 5 minutes from our house during the months they were in Syracuse. They very smartly get out of there before the cold and snow hits.

We headed out to Destiny USA for dinner Saturday night – better known as the Carousel Mall to those of us who lived there when it was first built. I couldn’t get over the new addition and how many new stores and restaurants have moved in. Just saying…I might have to make a trip back to check out those go-karts! We ended up at the new Toby Keith restaurant. It was really cool. The bar was ginormous and in the shape of a guitar. I could probably have dealt with one of the hundreds of TVs not being tuned into Nascar, but oh well. The beers were cold, the mac ‘n cheese bites app was amazing and my buffalo chicken sandwich was great as well – so all in all it was a great spot!

After an 8k race at Green Lakes (recap coming tomorrow), Sunday was spent at the house before Ian and I made the trek back to D.C. I attempted some tech support fixes that did not go as well as planned (thankfully I was at least able to restore the Internet before leaving), enjoyed a home cooked meal and wrapped up the ridiculous amount of laundry that I brought home. I will never be too old to take advantage of free laundry…unless I eventually live somewhere that doesn’t require me to go to the basement to do laundry.

It was a great trip home as always. Hope you all had a nice weekend too!

Big East Tourney Recap: What a Weekend!

I hate the winter, but I love March. It’s my birthday month, St. Patty’s day and most importantly March Madness! I love the conference and NCAA tourneys more than any other sporting event. This year I got to experience the Big East Tourney in person! Last Wednesday night I headed up to Hoboken to meet up with my family at my brother’s so we could watch Syracuse in the last real Big East Tourney. My parents and I attempted to catch a tourney game at the Garden last year, but ended up buying counterfeit tickets.

Everyone we asked told us the best way to get tickets was to just buy them on the street outside the Garden, so we didn’t think there’d be a problem. The red X that appeared on the ticket scanner when we tried to enter that night told a different story. It was unbelievably disappointing. I also felt responsible even though I know my parents were just as excited as I was to go, I felt like they were doing this in part for me. We made the most of the night though and still enjoyed the game from Stout, a Syracuse bar around the corner.

This year we decided to go the StubHub route and bought tickets ahead of time for Thursday through Saturday. The only two games we’d been to in person so far this year had been both dismal Georgetown losses, and after they got off to a tough start against Seton Hall Wednesday we were hopeful, but a bit nervous as to how they would fare. It ended up being so much fun and better than we ever could have expected! We got to watch Syracuse play in all three games we went to and while they didn’t win it all, revenge against Georgetown was so sweet and made it a perfect weekend! Thanks for such a great Christmas present Mom & Dad! Pics below!

The End of an Era

Last weekend my parents came down to D.C. to go to the Syracuse vs. Georgetown game with Ian and me. This was the last regular season Big East matchup ever between these two teams. It truly marked the end of an era and a legendary rivalry. While they say they’ll continue to play each other, right now it just doesn’t feel like it’s going to be the same.

I was so excited for this game and really hoping the Orange would get revenge for their loss at the Dome a couple weeks ago. I figured at the very least it would have to be a great game. I was up early for a sunrise 11 miler. The sun was shining, it was beautiful out and I felt great. Today was going to be a great day and I was sure this had to be a sign that Syracuse would rock it. Boy was I wrong.

I’ve been going to these rivalry games at the Verizon Center every year Syracuse has played down here since I moved to D.C. about seven years ago. There are always so many Syracuse fans that we jokingly refer to it as the Carrier Dome South. The school has taken measures in the last two years to limit the number of ‘Cuse fans that get their hands on tickets mostly I would guess because they were embarrassed when announcers would say it sounded more like a home game for the Orange. This year they stepped up their efforts even more, and for the Syracuse game only, required a minimum $50 donation to purchase up to eight tickets for the game. I’m not proud, but I did what I had to do and made that donation to Georgetown so we could get our tickets. Some of my cousins and a handful of friends made it to the game as well.

We were not alone. There was yet again a whole lot of Orange in the Verizon Center. I absolutely could not believe that the top half of the spillover student section in the upper deck was empty. That would never, ever happen in Syracuse. There was barely room to breathe in the Dome with the record setting crowd a couple weeks ago, and many fans were in seats so far away I don’t know if they could even really see the court. (Picture below) How embarrassing.

Turns out the joke was on us though as Syracuse got pretty embarrassed. They didn’t even break 40 points. It was hard to watch. It definitely wasn’t the way I saw this historic rivalry coming to an end. It is what it is though and there was nothing we could do about it, so we headed down the street to RFD after the game to drown our sorrows. I enjoyed a few Magners and some of the best fried mac and cheese bites I’ve ever had. We still managed to have a pretty good afternoon there.

We’ll be back at it cheering for the Orange in NYC today as they take on Pitt in the Big East Tourney. Here’s hoping a different team than the one we saw in D.C. shows up to play! Go ‘Cuse!







Home Sweet Dome

Last weekend my Dad, Ian and I headed up to the Carrier Dome to see Syracuse play longtime rival Georgetown. A record-setting 35,012 people packed the Dome breaking the NCAA on-campus attendance record. Carmelo Anthony was back at the Dome to have his number retired at halftime. The place was rocking and orange was everywhere. It was perfect. Then we lost to Georgetown. Talk about a buzz-kill.

The Syracuse – Georgetown rivalry is legendary and one of the things I’m most sad to lose as conference realignment moves forward next season and the Big East falls apart. I know they plan to continue playing each other, but it just won’t be the same. Seventeen of Syracuse’s 72 games with more than 30,000 in attendance at the Dome have been against Georgetown. A few years before I was born in February of 1980 Syracuse brought a 57 consecutive home game win streak in to its final game at Manley Field House. The seniors on that team had never lost a home game in their careers. Georgetown beat the Orange that day and Coach John Thompson grabbed a mic and announced, “Manley Field House is officially closed.’’ Truly a rivalry for the ages – you just can’t make this stuff up.

Last weekend, this year’s Syracuse squad took a 38 home game winning streak onto the court. Thanks to Otto Porter blowing up for 33 points and Syracuse not being able to beat their 2-3 zone – something you think they’d know how to attack! – the ‘cuse lost their last Big East home game to the Hoyas. Current Georgetown Coach, John Thompson III, said he wasn’t going to give a Manley Field House is closed type of statement. Some might call him classy for that, but I prefer to think he just doesn’t want to give the Orange any bulletin board material for their rematch on March 9 down here in D.C.

I’ll be at that game too and I hope the ‘cuse can return the favor. I’m sure it’ll be a blast and it’s always fun to see so many Orange shirts at an away game despite Georgetown’s best efforts to keep Syracuse fans out. I actually had to make a $50 donation to Georgetown this year for the chance to buy a maximum of eight tickets. They don’t do that for any other game. It was a bit hard to swallow, but worth it to head to Carrier Dome South – I mean the Verizon Center – for the game this March.

Pics from the game at the Dome below. I unfortunately forgot my real camera so some of the iPhone shots are a bit blurry. I did have my wide angle iPhone lens adapter though, so I was able to get some good shots showing how packed it was in there!

Dear Carrier Dome: I’ve Missed You

Dad and me at the Dome!

I went home this past weekend for the Syracuse vs. UConn game at the Carrier Dome. I’m sure there are a lot of other teams’ fans who might disagree, but there is nothing quite like watching a game in the Dome. It routinely hosts the largest on-campus crowds in college basketball, and if you’re there for one of the 30,000+ games, you’ll understand why they’ve dubbed it the Loud House.

On Saturday, the Dome again set the record for this season’s largest on-campus crowd while hosting Uconn with 33,430 fans – also, the fourth largest crowd in Carrier Dome history. I’ve been at many of the attendance record setting games over the years and they are really something special. For years (probably a few too many) I sat in the nosebleeds after buying my $5 youth ticket. When I was in college my Dad and I got season tickets behind the hoop opposite the student section, and I would drive the two hours home from school to make the games.

The first record-setting game I remember being a part of was in 2005 against Notre Dame. The Syracuse Athletic Department actually announced a sell out – the first in history – with 33,199 in attendance. Walking into the Dome that day, every single door had a sign posted that read: Carrier Dome – Sold Out. It gave me chills. Syracuse struggled early that day, and it truly felt like the crowd willed them to victory in a 60-57 win as it got so loud in there I felt like a 747 jet was taking off above us.

Carrier Dome

Gerry McNamara’s senior day game was another special record breaker. No player has quite captured the hearts of Syracuse fans quite like G-Mac did, and I have to admit, I may have been one of the many girls in attendance holding a “Marry Me Gerry” poster. The ‘cuse lost 92-82 against Villanova that day, but the 33,633 in attendance were as loud as ever celebrating G-Mac’s career.

I missed out on the latest record-setting game in 2010, which still stands as the largest on-campus crowd in college hoops, also against Villanova. The Orange didn’t disappoint this time, beating the Wildcats 95-77 in front of 34,616 fans.a

While Saturday’s large crowd didn’t break the record, it was still a packed house. My Dad and I sat up in section 315 about five rows up and enjoyed every minute of it. The ‘cuse made it interesting as always allowing Uconn to within two with five minutes to play. After that they shut it down though, beating UConn by 18 with five walk-ons on the court to end the game. We were on our feet cheering on Melo’s blocks (and jumpers!), CJ Fair’s amazing dunk and watching Kris, Scoop and Dion do their thing. There’s no place like home!

100,000 Miles… Well, Almost


Lil Blue before I abandoned her in the Wilkes Barre Pep Boys parking lot

On New Years Eve, my boyfriend and I set off to make the drive from D.C. To Syracuse in my little blue Saturn – affectionately known as lil blue. I’ve been driving lil blue since just before my senior year of high school so she’s been a lot of places with me. After high school lil blue traveled with me to all 3 colleges I attended, graduate school and my first job.

We had just made the same trip a few days earlier for Christmas, and I’d been bragging to anyone who would listen that week that I was about to hit 100,000 miles. Apparently that’s not a big milestone anymore, and most people hit it well before ten years. Regardless, I was pretty excited.

I took the first shift at the wheel on the way to our New Year’s party, and Pennsylvania got back at me for all the crap I’ve talked about how awful it is to drive through over the years. Just outside of Lebanon on 81 – the middle of nowhere – I heard a loud bang and the car started to rumble. This set off a series of “is this really happening” events making it quite an adventure to get home. My front tire had literally exploded, blowing off the front quarter panel of the car and damaging the horn and headlight too.

I navigated to the shoulder and after calming down gave AAA a call. I’ve always been impressed by their customer service, but they didn’t seem too enthused about helping this time. “You know it’s NYE so you’re probably out of luck,” was the response I got along with a list of Pennsylvania car repair shops and dealerships I could have just as easily pulled off google. It was also going to take over an hour to get a tow truck to us.

“Well, at least things can’t get any worse,” I said. I called shop after shop while sitting on the side of the road as cars and trucks whizzed passed us just a foot away. I kept getting the same answer – no one could help me, at least not until Monday. At the tow truck driver’s recommendation we decided to head 90 miles north to a Pep Boys in Wilkes Barre – at least we’d be going in the right direction.

“Well, at least things can’t get any worse,” I said again as we hopped into the tow truck with the driver and his wife. They were going to use our misfortune to drive up to Scranton for a fancy New Year’s dinner. If you know anything about Scranton, you’ll understand why I had a tough time not laughing at this.

At the Pep Boys I figured we were about to be back on our way to the party with a new tire in no time. The mechanic laughed when he saw the car and said there was no way he could put a new tire on until I had body work done. Of course no body shops would be open until Monday.

Determined to still make the party we asked how close we were to the Scranton airport – yes, it does exist. After turning down an offer from a slightly sketchy guy who was willing to bring just me to the airport, (with the way my luck was going, I really didn’t want to get axe-murdered that night!) Ian found a cab company to come pick us up. Our cab driver Junior was quite the character. He hated all other drivers, felt bad about how much he had to charge us and really liked the Kia gerbils commercials. The Avis rental car workers were also happy with our misfortune since they said they normally don’t get to talk to too many people there. They set us up with a Ford Fusion and we were finally back on our way to Syracuse. We missed dinner, but caught up with everyone for drinks at the hotel and had an awesome night out making it totally worth the crazy adventure it took to get there.

After some thought I decided it wasn’t worth repairing the car, and it was time to let lil blue go. The final odometer reading: 99,875 miles. I didn’t get my 100,000 miles, but I guess that’s life. You don’t always end up where you plan to, but hopefully you had some good times and fun adventures along the way to give you some great stories.